While Monday night's 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams didn't leave safety Eddie Jackson in the best of moods, there was one obvious silver lining.
For the third time this season, Jackson scored a touchdown with a flag on the ground. Unlike his first two end zone trips, the flag did not negate the play.
In the fourth quarter, linebacker Robert Quinn stripped Rams receiver Robert Woods. Jackson found the ball and waltzed into the end zone. After a moment of hesitation, Jackson learned that the penalty flag was against the Rams, and his touchdown would finally count.
"You just see the ball on the ground there," said Jackson, "[and] just take the time to scoop it up. End zone's right there. Going in, you see the flag, and you're like, 'Oh my God.' Just preparing for the worst, hoping for the best type of situation. I was happy when it stood, though, I could say that."
Jackson has yet to record an interception this season, with pick-sixes against the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers being negated by pass interference calls.
Jackson's touchdown Monday night marks his sixth in four years in Chicago. In 2018, Jackson returned two interceptions and one fumble recovery for scores. He has now returned a fumble for a touchdown in three of his four professional seasons.
Rookie Rising: For the second week in a row, rookie tight end Cole Kmet made an impressive catch leading to the Bears' first points of the game.
Last week against the Carolina Panthers, Kmet caught a nine-yard touchdown in tight coverage. Against the Rams, he came down with a 38-yard catch on the Bears' lone scoring drive of the night.
The play was designed to sell the run, but the defender wasn't fooled. Kmet was forced to rely on his size and athleticism to come down with the ball.
"Once I knew he wasn't going to bite on the run," said Kmet, "I knew I just had to beat him and hopefully Nick [Foles] would throw up the ball, which he did. So yeah, I just kinda ran down the sideline and saw the ball up in the air and made a play."
Kmet caught a seven-yard pass on the next play, but that would the rookie's last catch of the game. Kmet is still working to find a bigger role in the offense. Through seven games, he has caught five passes for 77 yards.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing," said Kmet. "Work on my run game with the blocking, my releases and my routes and all that stuff. Just kinda continuing to work on all those things just to be an all-around tight end."
Defense regroups: While the defense was not necessarily at fault for the loss, the unit did give up 24 points, more than the expectations they set for themselves.
The Rams accumulated 161 yards on the ground, allowing them to sustain drives and keep the ball away from the Bears offense. Jackson's fumble recovery proved to be the defense's only forced turnover on the day.
Jackson described a solemn locker room in the moments after the loss.
"It was tough," said Jackson. "At first, when you walk in, guys are still holding your heads down. But it's a lot of football left for us. We know the type of team we got. We are not giving up. We got a good bunch of guys, a group of guys that's gonna continue to fight, no matter what happens. We gonna stick to each other, rally round one another and we gonna get better."
Jackson emphasized that the team would not be shaken by the loss and would work hard to fix its deficiencies on a short turnaround before they face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Soldier Field.
"We're not going to break," said Jackson. "We might bend, but we won't break. We're not going to fold. I felt like as a defensive unit, it's been like that for a while. No matter what we give up, we're going to play our game. We're going to play four quarters. We want to finish. That was the motto."
Scary Moment: Early in the second half, the Bears appeared to be in for a big loss when Jackson fell to the ground holding his knee.
Jackson jumped in the air to affect a pass thrown by Rams quarterback Jared Goff and landed awkwardly. The pain was immediate. While the situation looked dire to outside observers, Jackson knew that he hadn't endured a season-ending injury.
"I knew it wasn't nothing too bad," said Jackson. "I've been through the ACL [injury]. I'm fine. I'm feeling good. It was just a little scare. But I knew it wasn't nothing too serious and [when] it started to calm down, I started to feel much better. But I'm good."
Jackson tore his ACL in a spring practice after his freshman year at Alabama. Jackson returned to play most of his sophomore season at cornerback before switching to his eventual safety position. Given his experience, Jackson knew the difference between discomfort and severe injury, and counted himself lucky that it was the former.
"[It was] just a little sting like on the outside of my knee a little bit," said Jackson. "Like I said, it started to wear off at first. I started moving it. Like I told doc when he ran out there, he did the ACL [test], 'I know the ACL, I been through that. I'm good.' I'm just glad it wasn't nothing serious."
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off under the lights against the Rams in Inglewood, California.